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Factoring in home field advantage when betting on the NFL playoffs

By Matthew Martz

Everyone knows that home field advantage is real and is a big factor for NFL handicappers to consider, especially during the playoffs.

Fans are fired up and teams are too, and the impact of a noisy field on a visiting team can rattle nerves and make audibles nearly impossible at times.

The opposite can be true for a relatively quiet home town fan base that might be lacking confidence.

Here’s a look at some questions to help football handicappers determine the impact of the home field advantage in the playoffs and how it might influence the way they wager.

First, NFL bettors need to determine if a game has home fans excited or not.

Was their team expected to make the postseason, or did it surprise the football world? Has the team had a lot of recent playoff success or is this it’s first playoff appearance in years or perhaps decades?

All of these factors can influence a home crowds effect on the game, as far as how loud or complacent fans will be.

Next, handicappers will want to consider rivalries.

Rivalries can have a big impact in how loud a fan base can be. A rival is even more hated when it’s standing between the home team and the Super Bowl. However, handicappers beware here, as some rivalries are made out to be more significant than they really are at times by media and fans alike. So, it can be easy to overestimate the impact of the rivalry if not careful.

Another factor to consider when estimating home field advantage in the NLF postseason, is the conditions of the field and weather at game time.

January is not a very nice time of year in much of the country and teams that are not used to playing in sometimes frigid conditions can be at a huge disadvantage.

Home teams in the Northeast for example know how to deal with temperatures and how to use a soggy field to its advantage. Wind too, as it can wreck havoc on a team’s kicking and punting game.

Handicappers need to take weather into consideration and handicap what is actually going to happen, not what might happen on game day. It way home fans may engage during the game as well.

Finally, how well do the opponents match up.

It can be way too easy to allocate too much implication to home field advantage.

A good approach for bettors is to first evaluate if one team has a clear edge over the other, then factor in the home field advantage. It shouldn’t be a deciding factor in a bet alone.